As part of the efforts of higher education to reach additional audiences, this study deals with an alternative non-traditional pathway that leads to higher academic education. This alternative, the stackable credentials pathway, uses short-cycle tertiary VET as a way to an academic degree. The study describes the extent of users of the pathway in Israel and the characteristics of its population and compares them to traditional pathway students, who go into academic programmes directly after high school. Having found that the pathway is especially popular among those with high previous academic achievements who come from low social backgrounds, it seems that for entry to academia, it has increased equality and upholds the meritocratic principle. We argue that fear of failure motivates the high achievers of low social background in their academic attainment process. Given their limited resources, those from low social backgrounds adopt the stackable credentials strategy to reduce the risks associated with academic failure.
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- Higher education
- access to HE
- further education
- policy issues
- vocational HE
- vocational education & training
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